The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized changes to Clean Air Act standards for boilers and certain incinerators that it says addresses feedback provided by industry and labor groups, increasing the rule’s flexibility and dramatically reducing costs.
The EPA says that 99 percent of the approximately 1.5 million boilers in the U.S. are not covered or can meet the new standards by conducting periodic maintenance or regular tune-ups.
The agency says final adjustments to the standards are based on an extensive analysis of data and input from states, environmental groups, industry, lawmakers and the public. As a result of information gathered through this review -- including significant dialogue and meetings with public health groups, industry, and the public -- the final rule dramatically cuts the cost of implementation by individual boilers that EPA proposed in 2010.
At the same time, thee EPA says these rules will continue to deliver significant public health benefits. EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to reduce these pollutants, the public will see $13 to $29 in health benefits, including fewer instances of asthma, heart attacks, as well as premature deaths.
The rules set numerical emission limits for less than one percent of boilers - those that emit the majority of pollution from this sector. For these high emitting boilers and incinerators, typically operating at refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities, EPA is establishing more targeted emissions limits that protect public health and provide industry with practical, cost-effective options to meet the standards.
More detailed information on the final standards for boilers and incinerators: www.epa.gov/airquality/combustion